Standards and Codes

Q: What are the Standardised Tests of Concrete?
A: ASTM C-143 Slump Test
ASTM C-39 Compressive Strength Test
ASTM C-78 Flexural Strength Test


Q: What is the ASTM C-39 test for concrete?
A: ASTM C-39 Standard Test Method Compressive Strength of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens.
8.1 If the specimen length to diameter ratio is less than 1.8, correct the result obtained in 8.1 by multiplying by the appropriate correction factor in the following table:
L/D  1.75  1.5  1.25 1.00
Factor: 0.98  0.96  0.93 0.87


Q: What are the differences between Codes, Standards and Specifications, and how are they related?
A: In the US, construction industry ‘Codes’ typically refer to model building codes, which are requirements for safety and performance of structures. These become legal requirements when adopted by state or local authorities. For example, the International Building Code (IBC), which provides minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare for most non-residential buildings. State and local jurisdictions typically reserve the right to amend the model codes to assure that the requirements for design and construction of buildings are appropriate for the climatic, geographical, geological, political and economic conditions within their jurisdiction.
‘Standards’ are typically adopted by reference in codes. Standards cover specific details, such as test methods, specifications, practices or design provisions. This allows for simplification of the codes, because technical details for defining specific products, such as Portland cement can be discussed in material specifications such as ASTM C150, Specification for Portland cement or in specific test methods, like ASTM C39, Test Method for Compressive Strength of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens ( ACI 318 Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete is an important design standard, which is adopted by the IBC and many other model codes for concrete design and construction provisions. Standards are often developed by consensus-based organisations, such as ASTM International, the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and many others.
‘Specifications’ are either material or reference specifications. Reference specifications, such as ACI 301, Specifications for Structural Concrete, are specifically written for use in contract documents (also known as project specifications). Material specifications, such as ASTM C150 are referenced in codes as well as in reference specifications.

Thus, Codes, sometimes with local amendments or modifications, become the governing rules by which concrete structures (and other objects) are built. For clarity and conciseness, they refer to standards, including material specifications.